karen dias

Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab, India. 

The temple has a hundred simple rooms and dorms for tourists inside the premises where we lived for a few days. Once the dorms and rooms are full, people sleep out under the stars in the courtyard of the living quarters at the temple. People from any religion and class are welcome to stay at the temple as long as they like without any payment.

Needless to say, there are very few homeless people sleeping on the streets of Amritsar.

Kathmandu, Nepal.

Nepal faces one of the worst water shortage problems in the world and the entire country faces water cuts for many hours in the day, that is if they are lucky enough to have a water connection in their homes.

Most women and children walk with buckets and bottles to nearby wells, public taps or water tanks like this one, which are usually hundreds, if not a thousand years old and are commonly found in the historical areas of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur.

Boten, China-Laos Border

Border crossings always leave you with a strange feeling of passing through no man’s land where a strip of land between two countries seemingly belong to neither.

Passing through a shiny building fitted with metal detectors, luggage scanners, armed guards and heavy interrogation, the Chinese side bids you a cold goodbye. The Laos side welcomes you with a wat-style structure where immigration procedures are carried out through a window in a building that looks as old as the country itself and a few minutes later you are let loose into its riverside jungles.

Kowloon, Hong Kong.

A strange sight at the Temple Street night market are the scores of fortune-tellers seated in a line in plastic booths waiting for customers, advertising photographs of celebrities whose future they have told. Some of them even speak French, Japanese, Spanish besides various Chinese dialects. Funny that such a mysterious craft is practised in make-shift plastic tents.

Qibao, Shanghai, China.

We are on a constant quest to find traditional teahouses in China, not just because we love Tea but because it is in the tea houses hidden at the end of dark alleys where you meet the grandparents of Chinas’ iPad-toting teenagers passing their evenings over pots of flower tea.

Unfortunately, a lot of the Chinese youth seem to think that these teahouses are non-existent. But, if you look in the right places, you always find the right things.